Touching on her own experiences as a music obsessive, Hannah Ewens captures the joy and community of young women bonded by their musical fandoms and the impact these fangirls have on the artists they love.
Series: American Music Series
"To be a fan is to scream alone together." This is the discovery Hannah Ewens makes in Fangirls: how music fandom is at once a journey of self-definition and a conduit for connection and camaraderie; how it is both complicated and empowering; and how now, more than ever, fandoms composed of girls and young queer people create cultures that shape and change an entire industry.
This book is about what it means to be a fangirl.
Speaking to hundreds of fans from the UK, US, Europe, and Japan, Ewens tells the story of music fandom using its own voices, recounting previously untold or glossed-over scenes from modern pop and rock music history. In doing so, she uncovers the importance of fan devotion: how Ariana Grande represents both tragedy and resilience to her followers, or what it means to meet an artist like Lady Gaga in person. From One Directioners, to members of the Beyhive, to the author's own fandom experiences, this book reclaims the "fangirl" label for its young members, celebrating their purpose, their power, and, most of all, their passion for the music they love.
- 1. An Animal within an Animal: A Brief Fangirl History
- 2. The Waiting Game
- 3. I’m (Not) Okay: To Retreat and Return
- 4. Lady Gaga Will See You Now
- 5. Sex & iPhones & Rock & Roll
- (i) ‘Fuck Me Daddy’ (or Screaming Obscenities at Objects of Desire)
- (ii) Queering with Strangers
- 6. ‘We Are the Media’: Inside the Hive Mind
- 7. Harry’s Girls, Long-Distance Love and Global Fangirling
- 8. Dangerous Women and Political Fun
- 9. Our Tears Dry on Their Own: Amy, Grief and British Female Fans
- 10. Witches Always Live Through This: Courtney Love’s Older Fangirls
- Beyond ‘Fangirls: Scenes from Modern Music Culture’
“An illuminating, sympathetic, and cautionary celebration of superfans, young and old.”
“[A] passionate, smart take...Fangirls—and pop music fans in general—will jump on this adrenaline-fueled tour.”
“[Ewens] includes herself among fangirls and is in tune with factors that motivate what to the unaffected may seem like outsize adoration...Anyone who has wondered why someone would bid thousands for a wad of used chewing gum or collect a closetful of an idol's clothing will come away with greater understanding.”
“Ewens...traces the history of fandom—from the days of The Beatles until the present—to contextualize what fandom means, how it functions, and how it both reflects and drives cultural conversations about everything from teenage girls to mental health.”
“An entertaining, in-depth examination of fan subcultures.”
The A.V. Club
“Fangirls establishes a loose chronology of fangirling, spotlighting the diversity inherent in the experience and giving space to One Direction, Halsey, Beyoncé, My Chemical Romance, and Amy Winehouse fans in equal measure.”
“[A] nuanced approach...Ewens wants to elevate the young girls whose fandom has been ignored, dismissed, or mocked in favor of the older men who are supposed to be the 'real' music experts. Beyond that, though, Ewens want to unpack the many ways that fandom works in the music world...Fangirls reads as an extended essay, but one informed by on-the-ground research with fans of artists from Elvis to Fall Out Boy.”
“The individual voices and profiles [featured in Fangirls] vary as much as the people’s tastes—from boy-bands to Beyoncé to Courtney Love—giving fans the space to expand on personal truths like queerness, mental illness, sexual desire, and what it means to find community.”